British athletes are to be given a second chance to buy tickets for the 2012 Olympic Games after some of the nation's leading medal hopes complained that they had lost out in the public ballot.
Bradley Wiggins, the cyclist who has won seven gold medals, and Tom Daley, the young diving hope, joined 250,000 others left disappointed that they had failed to get the tickets that they had applied for.
Downing Street was forced to defend the "fairness" of the ticketing process after an estimated 250,000 of the 1.8m applicants were left empty-handed. Some had made bids for more than £4,000 of tickets without a return.
Wiggins tweeted: "No Olympic tickets for the wife and kids to watch Team Pursuit. Oh well, sorry kids going to have to watch dad on the telly!"
Daley, one of the Great Britain team's leading medal hopefuls, who lost his father to cancer last week, also took to Twitter, complaining: "Mum had the money taken from the bank for the Olympic tickets! But only 1/4 of what she wanted! I hope my family get tickets to watch me!!!!"
Athletes will be given a second chance to get tickets for friends or family. A spokesman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games said: "Each athlete from every country will have the option to purchase two tickets for every session that they compete in."
The 70,000 reserved tickets for athletes will be allocated in addition to the tickets reserved by individual sporting organisations.
There is, however, no mechanism for allocating extra tickets to the Mayor of London should he lose office in next May's election. Boris Johnson said that he was "cheesed off" after bidding for "quite a few tickets" with no reward.
A spokesman for Ken Livingstone, Mr Johnson's rival mayoral candidate next May, said that the Labour politician had also been disappointed. "He applied for the football semi-finals but he didn't get anything," the spokesman said. Mr Livingstone hopes to attend events which the public can watch for free such as the triathlon and marathon.
One man who secured £11,000 of tickets after applying for £36,000-worth has decided to keep them after "crunch talks" with his wife. Stephen Hunt, an insolvency practitioner from Hertfordshire, said that he didn't have enough money in his account but his bank had agreed to extend his credit limit.
The Prime Minister's spokesman defended the ticketing process, following complaints from consumer groups that the ballot lacked transparency and left some people facing huge debts: "Clearly there are always going to be some people who are disappointed at the end of this kind of process but they did everything they could to ensure that this was a fair process."
Lord Coe, the chairman of the Games committee, said he understood many people would be "bitterly disappointed" but the system was fairer than "asking everyone to crash on to a website at the first possible moment and first come, first served."
The successful applicants must wait three weeks to discover which 2012 events they will see. Those who failed to get tickets will be invited to reapply on a first-come, first-served basis for unsold seats left over from the less popular events.Reuse content